Eight Steps Toward Becoming a Subject Matter Expert

One way to boost your authority is to become a subject matter expert (SME). A subject matter expert is an authority on a niche or topic. For example, if you’re a climate scientist you are likely an expert on climate change. If someone was to need quotes for a report, they might come to you about that topic. If you want to be an SME for your niche or topic, you can – simply follow these steps. It just takes time.

1. Research – You should continuously be studying the subject so that you can not only know the past and present, but are also aware of potential trends in the future regarding your topic. This type of research will keep you on the forefront of your niche.

2. Network – Try to hobnob with as many people as possible who are already experts in the field you want to be in. Ask them questions, read their books, offer to help them when you can. Interview them for your work.

3. Get the Credentials – If you want to, you can earn certification in almost any industry in which you want to become a subject matter expert. You don’t have to go to college either. Go straight to the industry associations to look for certification through them.

4. Write a Book – Once you feel like you know something, the best thing to do is write a book. Once you learn something, if you write it down to explain it to someone else, you’ll be more likely to remember it – plus once it’s published you’ll be seen automatically as an SME.

5. Speak at Events – Once you have your book, you can use that to get your foot in the door to speak at events about the topic you wrote the book about. Ensure that you write the book about a topic others aren’t speaking on yet within your niche.

6. Publish in Academic Journals – Using your book and speaking, find journals to publish in that are academically focused. You do not have to be in a school or carry a doctorate to publish. You just need to find an academic journal that is calling for entries.

7. Publish in Industrial Magazines – Another place you can publish is with any magazines that accept entries. First, read the magazine for a few months, and then figure out where they have gaps in their coverage of a topic. Write about that. Get published (and often you get paid too).

8. Get Rewarded – If you get very involved in your industry and do a lot of things, speak at events, volunteer for fundraisers and so forth, you’ll eventually stand out and get awarded for your service. These awards can solidify your expert status.

Becoming a subject matter expert only takes a little bit of time and effort. Plus, everything you learn will help you tremendously in your niche. Nothing will be wasted. Therefore, start now work on becoming an SME.